China Eastern has split a US$10 billion order between Airbus and Boeing, as the company renovates its fleet and adds new long-haul routes.
China’s second largest airline has agreed to buy 20 A350-900 from Airbus, worth US$6.16 billion at list prices, and 15 B787-9s from Boeing, worth US$3.97 billion.
The aircraft, which are due to enter service over four years starting from 2018, will help China Eastern satisfy its long haul need through 2025. As part of the fleet renewal program, the airline will retire six Boeing 767s and 12 Airbus A330s by 2020.
Chinese airlines are adding bigger aircraft to their fleets as economic growth makes long hauls more affordable. China Eastern, which server about a dozen destinations outside the Asia-Pacific plans to boost international capacity by around 20% this year.
The company valued the A350 order at US$5.96 billion, citing Jan. 2014 prices, and the Dreamliner one at US$3.9 billion in its statement. This may be the indication that the order is based on terms agreed earlier or is taking over delivery slots vacated by other buyers.
China Eastern will be the fifth Chinese airline to operate the 787 and the third to take delivery of the A350. Their plan to operate 24 Dreamliners was scrapped in 2011, opting to buy 45 Boeing 737s instead.
As of the end of 2015, China Eastern’s wide-body fleet was composed of 9 Boeing 777s, with 11 more on order, 8 Boeing 767s and 41 Airbus A330s, with 7 more to be received this year and next.